WRAL Investigates

Has your doctor been disciplined by the N.C. Medical Board?

Posted April 14, 2010

— The North Carolina Medical Board, which is in charge of disciplining doctors and other medical professionals, has released its annual Board Actions Report for 2009.

The number of disciplinary cases involving allegations of substandard care or professional incompetence rose to an all-time high of 66 in 2009, according to the report.

The board took action in 53 cases related to quality of care or incompetence in 2008 and 45 cases in 2007.

"The increases are linked at least in part to the rising number of Public Letters of Concern, which frequently address some aspect of quality of care," according to the board's news release.

The board issued 73 public letters in 2009 – the largest number since 2006, when changes to state law authorized the board to issue them. In 2008, the board issued 41 Public Letters of Concern. In 2007 – the first full calendar year during which public letters were issued – the board issued 46 letters.

"Public letters do not impose a specific disciplinary action," according to the board. "Instead, they create a public record of an incident involving conduct or medical care that the board determines to be concerning in some way."

When a public letter is issued, it becomes a public document posted on the board's Web site.

The board also observed "a significant increase" in cases relating to false or deceptive behavior, such as providing false information to the board – 48 cases in 2009 compared with 21 cases in 2008.

Also, the number of license denials increased for the second year in a row, with 22 denials in 2009, compared with 14 in 2008 and six in 2007.

Besides disciplining medical professionals, the board also licenses, monitors and guides them to ensure their fitness and competence. 

15 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • sadler19fan Apr 16, 2:52 p.m.

    What happened to the good old days when you had to physically be SEEN by the doctor before they would call in a prescription for you? Isnt it wrong (not just morally wrong) for a physician to call in a script for Darvocet, Percoset, etc. without seeing the patient? My aunt is abusing these drugs & all she has to do is call her primary physician & tell him that she aches here or she aches there & he calls in a script for Darvocet (or whatever she asks for). She's an adult & is responsible for her own actions (abusing these drugs in the 1st place) but I think he bears some of the responsibility too...but that's just my prejudiced, humble opinion.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Apr 16, 1:49 p.m.

    Interesting, but what about the medical practioner's response to the Letter? It would be better to present all sides of the allegations, not just what the Medical Board imposes on their members (especially if it is still being finalized).

    I believe this incomplete transparency will prevent a lot of people to become doctors and nurses, despite the U.S. Healthcare Reform becoming law. Who would want to be "exposed" without due process if someone complains? In the current day and age, people complain a lot about practically everything and not take responsibility for his/her own actions and inactions...

  • Ptah Apr 15, 8:58 a.m.

    "Nobody likes an arrogant doctor, an arrogant cashier, or even an arrogant President. But filing a complaint with the medical board because you don't like the guy is just ridiculous and mean-spirited on your part."

    You do not know the whole story and therefore are biased on incorrect information.

  • grant Apr 14, 5:48 p.m.

    Those with a problem with doctors not being accountable aren't being real. The public should be smart enought to interperate the complaints and address the concerns, otherwise they will go to new doctors that are inexperienced, which is fine with me. The only thing that concerns me is that the medical boards are not accountable and very corrupt. Ask a medical provider that has some experience why proven drugs fall by the wayside. It isn't that there was ever a problem with them, it's that there is no money to be made. There are government grants for research and trials as well as inflated prices to drive the exchange and bribes of Doctor's, boards and agencies. Often the new drugs come back with unforseen side effects and cause irreverable damage. Reglan for Phenagan, Amioderone for Lasix and well, they tried to say it treated almost EVERYTHING cardiac related. New is not always improved or even known to be safe. Once a drug or treatment has been around long enought that it is econom

  • dogman1973 Apr 14, 5:23 p.m.

    Once all the doctors serve under OBAMACARE, you won't be able to complain about them anymore, because you can't sue the government! So, enjoy your complaining now, because soon you won't be able to. Heck, you won't be able to see your doctor in a timely manner either to even complain!

  • Commonscents Apr 14, 4:25 p.m.

    Nope! Thanks for the URL.

  • GlobalHoax Apr 14, 4:10 p.m.

    ptahandatum2,

    Nobody likes an arrogant doctor, an arrogant cashier, or even an arrogant President. But filing a complaint with the medical board because you don't like the guy is just ridiculous and mean-spirited on your part.

  • GlobalHoax Apr 14, 4:08 p.m.

    Of course, filing a complaint with the medical board is not at all the same as filing a lawsuit.

    I'm not a physician, but I'm generally not in favor of disclosing medical board discipline. It's not about hiding medical misdeeds. The public has 3 non-medical representatives on it, so unlike some believe, "doctors" can't sweep issues under the rug.

    My reasoning for not wanting disciplinary actions public is I think they have a tendency to do one of two things. If they're not public, doctors can "fess up" to the board, and accept an appropriate reprimand, suspension, etc. But if they are public, less than honest doctors may try to cover up their problems, which sometimes can lead to even worse problems for the patient. And for the vast majority of doctors who are both honest and fully competent, even the smallest of errors that gets reported smudges their otherwise good records and reputations.

  • wa4mjf Apr 14, 3:45 p.m.

    Mine has, but it doesn't bother me, as it was the old prescribing outside the "course and scope of practice" thing. I don't ask for Schedule stuff and he thought that he was being helpful to that patient.

  • hhurley79 Apr 14, 3:35 p.m.

    In truth a lot of people sue because the didn't get what they wanted (even if it wasn't possible) but some people don't know what to do when they've been hurt by a "doctor" As a very soon to be nurse I take my education and practice seriously, so should doctors. What do you do when an ED doc refuses to remove a lighter fluid soaked cast from a 2 year old, gives the child a popscile and sends him home to unknown to the parents, who trusted his judgement, burns for hours until fluid started to leak from the cast. Only to find out after full thickness burns to the childs entire arm that the "doctor" could have simply removed the cast, as he was told, and saved the child from suffering and the permanent nerve damage not to mention scars. Now please bella, what do you think these parents should do to the person. Should they say sorry son you are hurt for the rest of your life because it was a friday afternoon and the doc was sorry or go get the jerk?!?

More...